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Regents Approve UCSD Cardiovascular Center, Expansion of Critical Hospital Services


January 19, 2006  |  

The University of California, San Diego has received approval to improve its patient services by constructing a new Cardiovascular Center, and expanding critical care services at the John M. and Sally B. Thornton Hospital.  The action was taken by the University of California Board of Regents at its meeting on Thursday, January 19.

“We are proud to serve San Diego as its only academic medical center, delivering innovative care and improving the prevention, diagnosis and treatment of disease for all patients,” said UCSD Chancellor Marye Anne Fox.  “This project will allow us to respond to the health needs of our growing community, and further strengthen our clinical and research programs in cardiovascular disease, a major public health issue.”

The project will create a state-of-the-art Cardiovascular Center (CVC) on UCSD’s East Campus medical complex, bringing together UCSD’s patient care, clinical research and teaching activities in heart and vascular disease and stroke management.   Emergency cardiovascular and stroke services will continue to be provided at the UCSD Medical Center in Hillcrest.

The UCSD Cardiovascular Center Board has raised $30 million to support the CVC, which has been named the Sulpizio Family Cardiovascular Center in recognition of a $10 million leadership gift from San Diegans Richard and Maria (Gaby) Sulpizio.

“Heart disease and stroke are the #1 and #3 killers in the United States. At UCSD, cardiovascular disease is the focus of a vigorous research and training effort as our scientists and clinicians work side by side to more effectively treat and ultimately to prevent these diseases,” said Edward W. Holmes, M.D., UCSD’s Vice Chancellor for Health Sciences. “The Sulpizio Family Cardiovascular Center, like the Rebecca and John Moores UCSD Cancer Center and Shiley Eye Center, has been made possible by visionary community leaders whose support will allow UCSD to provide 21st century medicine in a modern new facility where clinical excellence, groundbreaking research and education are brought together to serve the patient.”   

“Thanks to the generosity of the community, we will now be able to centralize our clinical, research and training programs in one state-of-the-art facility, where patients will have access to a full range of the latest diagnostic and treatment options,” said Anthony DeMaria, M.D., UCSD professor of cardiology and director of the CVC.  “The Sulpizio Cardiovascular Center will be a model of translational research, evaluating new drugs and technologies and bringing the best into the clinical setting for the benefit of patients; and educating specialists to provide these innovations in their own practices.”

In addition, the project will expand UCSD’s busy Thornton Hospital, which opened in 1993.   The 119-bed Thornton Hospital anchors UCSD’s East Campus medical center complex, the site of specialized patient care programs and related research programs, including the Moores UCSD Cancer Center and the Shiley Eye Center.   Due to increasing demand, the facility has reached capacity in many key services. Two pressing concerns are the shortage of intensive care unit (ICU) beds and of treatment stations in the hospital’s emergency room.  The number of operating rooms and other critical services is also inadequate to meet patient needs.

“The area around Thornton Hospital is one of the fastest growing in San Diego, and one of the fastest aging,” said Richard J. Liekweg, Chief Executive Officer of UCSD Medical Center.  “Many of our most critically needed patient care services are already at or over capacity, and we know there will be greater demand for services in the coming years.  This expansion is essential to improve access to UCSD services today, and allow us to continue meeting the specialty and critical care needs of an older population.”

The Sulpizio Family Cardiovascular Center will include 16-20 examination rooms, and related diagnostic and treatment services.  The project will add cardiac catheterization labs and other procedure rooms to the facility, and also includes 18 additional intensive care and step-down beds for the sickest patients, expansion of emergency room services, and four additional operating rooms. 

The $136.5 million project will be funded with a combination of hospital reserves, debt financing and philanthropy.  Construction is expected to begin in December 2007, with completion in December 2009.  

Click here for artist rendering of proposed new building

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Media Contact: Leslie Franz or Jeffree Itrich, 619-543-6163

UCSD Health Sciences Communications HealthBeat: News

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